Armodoxy for Today: Appealing to the Supernatural
A wildfire in Hawaii, one of the largest natural disasters in American history, has devastated the landscape and wreaked havoc on the lives of the inhabitants of Maui’s Lahaina district. The war in Ukraine continues almost a year and a half since it started with more and more weapons and armor being sent to the country. And in a small, remote part of the world, a land known as Artsakh, but unknown to most the world, a blockade of food and medicine threatens the population. Because the population is overwhelmingly ethnic Armenian, and because the ruling Azerbaijan government has sanctioned the blockade, this action is genocidal, that is, the government has decided to annihilate the population of Armenians there.
Over the weekend, the Armenian Church celebrated the Assumption of the Asdvadzadzin, the Holy Mother of God, and officiated at the traditional grapeblessing service. I shared with you my personal frustration with the Church that didn’t make the connection between the supernatural events in the Blessed Mother’s life and the supernatural response that we need to seek for the difficulties we face. This is a continuation of this theme of messages.
If we believe the stories of supernatural occurrences, such as the Virgin Birth, why do we hesitate to seek the supernatural assistance that we need to overcome our problems? As we discussed last week, Albert Einstein, among the most prominent within the scientific community speaks about the need mystery and awe, acknowledging reality beyond our five senses. And, we in the Christian community acknowledge life beyond the temporal. So why are we hesitant, at the very least, to include supernatural solutions?
One of the key reasons for grapeblessing is that opens the door for the possibility of something more than us. The grapeblessing service in the Armenian Church has to do with bringing the first-fruits of the community to be blessed. In so doing, the person (in this case the farmer) acknowledges that there is a source for the goodness s/he enjoys, that is the One who is thanked. The grapeblessing takes attention off of ourselves shifting it onto something greater. Whether you call that God, nature, the weather system, the seasonal rotation of the planets, it acknowledges that some of life’s occurrences are beyond our control and beyond our care. Also, the ego becomes deflated, because the grapes, the harvest or our product is dependent on much more than the self.
In fact, one of the most important reasons to be involved in a church community is because we understand that our life is dependent on so many others. Each of us is part of the network of life, and, like it or not, no one is indispensable.
We will stop here today, only to continue tomorrow. Our lives as people is defined in the relationships we have with others, even if the relationship are with the natural phenomena that sustain us.
We conclude with this passage from Ephesians (5:18-21). Listen attentively to these instructions, And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.